February 22, 2004

Official 1st Day, P&C. Mike F reports from Fort Myers ("Met up with a handful of familiar season ticket holders and we all compared the scar tissue on each other's wrists."). ... The practice was watched by approximately 1,000 fans, which surprised Terry Francona (who was up at 4:40 am) when he first saw them.

Ramiro Mendoza has an abdominal strain that will set him back at least a week. Pitcher Reynaldo Garcia missed the first workout because of a visa problem. ... Derek Lowe: From Cowboy Up to the Last Roundup. "We've made Doug Mirabelli in charge of the 'Cowboy Up' police," Lowe said. "We've got to get it all out of here." ... Byung-Hyun Kim prepared for the opening of camp by working out for nearly three weeks at Boston College. ... Tony Cloninger was in uniform as the team's senior pitching advisor.

Schilling left wearing a replica 1919 Babe Ruth Red Sox jersey (with the number 3). However, the Red Sox did not have numbers in 1919; no team wore them for another 10 years. Ruth was given #3 in 1929, when he was 34 years old, which is why he is always big-bellied when you see him wearing #3.

Dan Shaughnessy, Saturday's Boston Globe: "Schilling's cars have made a big splash in Fort Myers. The white BMW (760) with the spinning hubcaps is nifty, and then there's the vintage Hummer that changes colors depending on where you stand (blue to purple to green to teal)." ... Schilling, later that day, at SoSH: "Just for clarities sake, and for the sake of good honest reporting, I don't own a "Beemer", nor do I have hubcaps that spin, though my son does on his John Deere Tractor I think." ... SoSHer Chico Walker and the Man envisions tomorrow's headline: "Primadonna Schilling questions the integrity of the Boston Media: insists on luxuries such as 'accuracy in reporting.'"

Tony Massarotti believes the Red Sox should offer Nomar six years at $75-$78 million (more than Baltimore gave Miguel Tejada and slightly more than the 4/48 offer from last season). "If Garciaparra takes it, he wants to stay. If he doesn't, he doesn't." Six years seems a big steep for this ownership group. I don't see Nomar getting more than five, and from what is known of previous discussions, four years is more likely. ... Speaking of Garciaparra, Art Martone continues his look at the 2004 team and who is likely to improve, stay the same or decline.

Miami Herald: "Psst! The Red Sox are a better team in 2004. ... [T]he Red Sox remain superior on the mound, especially at 1-2-3-4 in the starting rotation. ... The Sox scored almost 100 more runs than the Yanks and will be an offensive powerhouse again. All New York has done is draw even, or (benefit of doubt) gain a slight edge." Another Herald writer disagrees.

Not that he's ever known what he's talking about, but -- David Wells: "On paper, [New York] looks good, but they've got a few holes. It's not in their lineup, but it's their pitching. ... If their pitching stays solid, they will win that division. But, right now as you look at it, Boston has the edge because they've got the pitching, and you cannot win without the pitching." ... T.R. Sullivan of the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram is on the pipe: "The Yankees? Their lineup is so loaded that Rodriguez could conceivably break the single-season record of 177 runs held by Babe Ruth. Seriously. Rodriguez averaged 127 runs per season with the last-place Rangers."

John Henry is taking the flap caused by his Steinbrenner-related email in stride, offering a few comments: "I don't want to give the commissioner a headache, so I shouldn't really go down that road. ... I was a [limited] partner [of the Yankees]. I've seen bellowing, and this isn't out of character. ... [Steinbrenner] was on the phone with the commissioner the same time I was on the phone. I called in and I was hoping the three of us could get together. It would have been funny." ... Henry also called Steinbrenner baseball's version of Don Rickles. ... Gordon Edes prints some of the more outlandish criticisms and notes: "In the barrage of criticism aimed at Henry, no one bothered to mention that the Sox owner has been consistent in his calls for some restoration of economic balance in the game ... There was a time, in the '90s, when even the Yankees expressed support for a salary cap."

Esquire writer Scott Raab once quoted Alex Rodriguez: "Jeter's been blessed with great talent around him. He's never had to lead. He can just go and play and have fun. And he hits second — that's totally different from third and fourth in a lineup. You go into New York, you wanna stop Bernie and O'Neill. You never say, 'Don't let Derek beat you. He's never your concern.'" Now Raab admits, "[A]s a die-hard Cleveland Indians fan and lifelong Yankees hater, if I had dreamed that Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez would ever play side by side in the Yankee infield one dark day, I would have done a more thorough job of ruining their friendship."

Alan Schwarz, New York Times: Joe Torre "cited no hard evidence to support his claim that Jeter is the superior defender. ... Instead, he burrowed into the impregnable haven of opinion, where baseball arguments go to die. 'There's something special about Derek Jeter. It's something that you can't put down on paper.' And that was that." ... Schwarz notes that "fielding statistics remain a fossilized snapshot of the game's younger days, when folklore reigned over figures," but that is slowly changing.

Frank Jobe loves White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen: "I want these guys ready to throw nine innings right from the get go. ... We have a young pitching staff, and I'm going to give the opportunity to let them go as far as they can. We have one month to go, and if they can't get ready in one month, they better get another job."

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